The ConflictNet project at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies held a public roundtable at Addis Ababa University on The Politics of Internet Shutdowns and Online Hate Speech in Africa on January 24th. This was followed by a two day workshop at the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission that brought together colleagues from the Commission and universities across Ethiopia to discuss issues from social media to AI in peace and conflict, including emerging transitional justice processes. Co-organised by Professor Nicole Stremlau and her research team, the UK delegation involved established staff, postdoctoral fellows, PhD students, and research assistants from across Oxford’s Faculty of Law. Additional partners included the University of Johannesburg and the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa at the London School of Economics.
The Centre is delighted to use this as an opportunity to continue strengthening links between the universities of Oxford and Addis Ababa, as well as with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. We have had long-standing links with Ethiopian academics, including previous projects on Online Hate Speech around Ethiopia’s Elections (the Mechachal project in 2015) and recent research collaboration with academics at Addis Ababa University and Wachemo University on the politics of AI policymaking in Ethiopia, internet shutdowns during Ethiopia’s ongoing conflicts, and transnational dispute resolution among the Ethiopian Hadiya diaspora in South Africa.